Conn, Didi 1951-
CONN, Didi 1951-
Original name, Didi Bernstein; born July 13, 1951, in Brooklyn, NY; daughter of Leonard (a clinical psychologist) and Beverly Bernstein; married David Shire (a composer); children: Daniel.
Agent—William Morris Agency, 151 South El Camino Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212-2775.
Actress. Actress in films, including (as voice of Raggedy Ann) Raggedy Ann and Andy, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1977; (as Laurie Robinson) You Light Up My Life, Columbia, 1977; (as Donna DeVito) Almost Summer, Universal, 1978; (as Frenchy) Grease, Paramount, 1978, re-released, 1998; (as title role) Violet, 1981; (as Frenchy) Grease II, Paramount, 1982; (as actress) "Mutual Orgasms," Funny, Original Cinema, 1988; (as Stacy Jones) Thomas and the Magic Railroad, Destination Films, 2000; (as Patrice) Shooting Vegetarians, Cineblast Productions, 2000; and (as waitress) Frida, Miramax, 2002. Appeared on the recording Grease (original soundtrack), Paramount, 1991.
Actress in television series, including Happy Days, c. 1975; Keep on Truckin', American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. (ABC), 1975; (as Helen) The Practice, ABC, 1976; (as voice) The Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo Show (animated), ABC, 1980; (as voice of Cup Cake) Fonz and the Happy Days Gang (animated), ABC, 1980-1982; (as Denise Stevens Downey) Benson, ABC, 1981-1985; (as voice) Bad Cat (animated), ABC, 1984; (as additional voices) The New Jetsons (animated), syndicated, 1985; and (as Stacy Jones) Shining Time Station, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), 1990-1993. Actress in television movies, including (as television actress) Genesis II, Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. (CBS), 1973; (as Julie Evans) Murder at the Mardi Gras, CBS, 1978; and (as Eve Harris) Three on a Date, ABC, 1978. Executive producer of the television movie We'll Always Be Together!, ABC, forthcoming.
Guest star on television programs, including $20,000 Pyramid (game show), ABC, 1978, 1979, and 1981; (as Patty Maloney) "Sleeping Dogs," Hotel, ABC, 1985; (as Dinah Roswell) Cagney & Lacey, CBS, 1987; (as Wanda) "All That Glitters," Highway to Heaven, National Broadcasting Company, Inc. (NBC), 1987; (as Birdy Belker) "Ghost Rider," Highway to Heaven, NBC, 1987; (as Ms. Tressman) "He Ain't Guilty, He's My Brother," L.A. Law, NBC, 1994; Saturday Night Live, NBC, 1998; "Revenge Is Sweet," Oz, 2001; The Montel Williams Show, 2001; and (as housekeeper) Romeo, 2003; also appeared as guest player, Body Language, CBS; and as guest panelist, The Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour, NBC.
Appeared in television specials, including (as receptionist) "Working," American Playhouse, PBS, 1982; Circus of the Stars, Number Seven, CBS, 1982; (as Stacy Jones) Shining Time Station, PBS, 1989; (as herself and Frenchy) VH-1 Where Are They Now: Grease, VH1, 1998; (as herself and Frenchy) VH1's Behind the Music: Grease, VH1, 2000; and Grease: After They Were Famous. Also appeared in television programs, including (as Nurse Jackie Morse) Handle with Care (pilot), CBS, 1977; (as Cal) The Magic Show, 1983; and (as voice) The Adventures of Don Coyote and Sancho Panda, 1990.
Actress in stage productions, including (as understudy for the role of Grandma Kurnitz) Lost in Yonkers, Richard Rodgers Theatre, New York, NY, between 1991 and 1993; (as Debbie Wastba) The Primary English Class, Minetta Lane Theatre, New York, 1998; (as lamplighter and ghost of Christmas past) A Christmas Carol, Theatre at Madison Square Garden, New York, 1999; (as Smeraldina) The Green Bird, Cort Theatre, New York, 2000; made Broadway debut as Bella, Lost in Yonkers; appeared in Consequence, Hello, I Love You, The Lesson, and The Vagina Monologues, all New York; in Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, Los Angeles, CA; and in Anything Goes, Birdbath, Enter Laughing, It Had to Be You, and Room Service, all regional productions.
Mommy, Give Me a Drinka Water (recording; for children), Ambassador, 1995.
Frenchy's "Grease" Scrapbook: We'll Always Be Together!, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1998.
Actress Didi Conn's career is still defined for many by a role she played over a quarter-century ago: Frenchy in the hit John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John musical romance Grease. When the film was re-released on its twentieth anniversary in 1998, Conn put together a book, Frenchy's "Grease" Scrapbook: We'll Always Be Together!, to commemorate the event. Conn wrote about her own memories of making the film, and she tracked down the other actors and actresses, asking them for their memories, behind-the-scenes snapshots, and information about where they are now. "Tracking everyone down was work," Conn told syndicated reporter Terry Lawson, "But it was worth it just to talk to people I hadn't seen in years." There was one person who it wasn't hard to find: Newton-John and Conn became best friends on the set and have remained so ever since.
Humorously, in the book, the actors were asked where they thought their characters would be twenty years later. For example, Jeff Conaway (recently of Babylon 5), who played Kenickie, thought that Kenickie would be married to his high school sweetheart Rizzo, and that they would have "kids screaming all over the place." But Stockard Channing (recently of West Wing), who played Rizzo, declared that she would be divorced from Kenickie by now, because they had a "dysfunctional relationship."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Conn, Didi, Frenchy's "Grease" Scrapbook: We'll Always Be Together!, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1998.
Buffalo News (Buffalo, NY), March 28, 1998, Terry Lawson, "A Pink Lady, Still in the Pink," p. C8.
Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), July 26, 2000, Stacey Cara Cohen, review of Thomas and the Magic Railroad, p. 2.
Entertainment Weekly, January 10, 1992, Ken Tucker, review of Shining Time Station, pp. 78-79.
Fresno Bee (Fresno, CA), March 26, 1998, Terry Lawson, "Didi Untangles Mystery of Grease Appeal," p. E2.
Hollywood Reporter, October 11, 2002, Frank Scheck, review of Say Goodnight Gracie, p. 56.
Los Angeles Magazine, July, 1980, Dick Lochte, review of Division Street, pp. 246-248.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI), July 26, 2000, Sue Pierman, review of Thomas and the Magic Railroad, p. 12.
Mirror (London, England), July 3, 1998, Thomas Quinn, "Slick Back and Enjoy: As Grease Returns, Didi Conn (aka Frenchy) Tells Thomas Quinn What the Original Cast Are Up to Twenty Years On," p. 4.
News & Record (Piedmont Triad, NC), April 3, 1998, "The Grease Cast: Where Are They Now?," p. D4, Terry Lawson, "For Actress, 'Grease' Is Still the Word," p. D4.
New York, April 13, 1987, John Simon, review of Consequence, p. 104.
New York Times, June 4, 1982, "Gene Wilder's Plans Include Gilda Radner," pp. 20, C12; March 30, 1987, Mel Gussow, review of Consequence, pp. 15, C12; November 17, 1998, Peter Marks, review of The Primary English Class, p. E12.
Record (Bergen County, NJ), March 27, 1998, Terry Lawson, "Her Chance to Be Frenchy Again: Grease Reunion," p. 40; July 26, 2000, Roger Ebert, review of Thomas and the Magic Railroad, p. Y2.
Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO), March 27, 1998, Robert Denerstein, review of Grease (re-release), p. 9D.
San Francisco Chronicle, March 27, 1998, Edward Guthman, review of Grease (re-release), p. D1.
Seattle Times, July 26, 2000, John Hartl, review of Thomas and the Magic Railroad, p. E8.
Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ), June 5, 1998, Bette Spero, "Dance: Greasers," p. 41.
TV Guide, October 5, 1996, James Kaplan, review of Shining Time Station, p. 43.
Variety, March 11, 1996, Jeremy Gerard, review of The Green Bird, p. 54.
Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (May 23, 2003), "Didi Conn."
Playbill,http://www.playbill.com/ (June 2, 2003), "Celebrity Buzz: Who's Who: Didi Conn."*